Tag Archives: baseball movies

Totally Subjective Top 10 List of Baseball Movies: Number 3

Editor’s Note: In the spirit of counting down to the start of the Major League Baseball season over the next two weeks we here at Triple B will present our completely subjective ranking of the Top 10 Baseball Movies. Today we look at number 3 on the list.

Sometimes a baseball movie should just be about pure unadulterated humor. Yes, baseball is big business but it is also still a game and games are meant to be fun.

Coming in at number 3 on the Triple B Top 10 Baseball Movies list is Major League the story of a rag tag group of players uniting for a common goal against a common enemy in their team owner.

The number 3 movie on the Triple B totally subjective top 10 countdown of baseball movies is Major League starring Charlie Sheen. Photo R. Anderson
The number 3 movie on the Triple B totally subjective top 10 countdown of baseball movies is Major League starring Charlie Sheen.
Photo R. Anderson

For the strict humor baseball movies it is hard to top Major League. Add to the equation that Charlie “Tiger Blood” Sheen did all of his own pitching in the film and you have the makings of a cinematic classic.

The movie follows the Cleveland Indians as they are in rebuilding mode following the death of their long-time owner.

The late owner’s widow has a plan to move the team from Cleveland to Miami. The catch in that plan is that they have to be the worst team in baseball in order to get out of their stadium lease.

To accomplish this goal the owner invites the worst players she can find to the team thinking that it will be a slam dunk to be so bad that a move to Miami can occur.

Of course at the time that the move came out the Marlins and Rays were not yet playing so the idea of moving a team to Florida was somewhat new and in the years that followed several teams used a move to Florida as a bargaining chip to get a better stadium deal back home.

In the end the players learn of the plot and in true underdog fashion they find a way to make it to the playoffs despite the strong odds against them.

In addition to Charlie Sheen as Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn the movie includes performances by Dennis “That Allstate Insurance guy” Haysbert, Wesley Snipes, Rene Russo, Tom Berenger, and most notably Bob “Just a bit outside” Uecker.

Uecker’s performance as the Indians play by play announcer, Harry Doyle, introduced so many quotable moments that they are forever etched in the lexicon of many fans of both the movie and baseball.

It is hard to watch a wild pitch to this day without uttering the phrase, “Just a bit outside.”

Of course a particularly rough outing from a pitcher with control issues can lead to uttering, “ball eight,” as well.

While I am sure that Uecker’s real life calls of the Milwaukee Brewers are not quite as over the top as his performance in Major League I have often wanted to hear him call a Brewers game just to be sure.

Baseball movies throughout the years have included great performances by real announcers that are able to let loose and play a slightly funnier version of themselves and Uecker definitely used every second of screen time to his advantage.

Major League begat two sequels that while not quite as funny as the original are certainly worth viewing as well. There are even some rumors floating around of another sequel with the original cast returning but one really wonders how much comedic gas they could have left in the tank although I certainly could go for some more calls from Harry Doyle and am also curious to see if Charlie Sheen can still bring the heat.

Copyright 2014 R. Anderson

Totally Subjective Top 10 List of Baseball Movies: Number 5

Editor’s Note: In the spirit of counting down to the start of the Major League Baseball season over the next two weeks we here at Triple B will present our completely subjective ranking of the Top 10 Baseball Movies. Today we look at number 5 on the list.

Today we have a doubleheader of sorts on our totally subjective baseball movie list with two movies about the baseball scouts who travel the country evaluating talent.

Coming in at number 5 on the Triple B Top 10 Baseball Movies list are Talent for the Game and Trouble with the Curve which each shine a light on what it takes to be a Major League Baseball scout.

The number 5 movie on the Triple B totally subjective top 10 countdown of baseball movies is Talent for the Game and Trouble With the Curve. Photo R. Anderson
The number 5 movie on the Triple B totally subjective top 10 countdown of baseball movies is Talent for the Game and Trouble With the Curve.
Photo R. Anderson

Although the movies came out around 20 years apart they each do a superb job of showing the life of a professional baseball scout.

Throughout the history of baseball individuals have scoured the back roads of America looking for that hidden gem of a player that can be the missing piece of the puzzle for a team looking to have long term success.

Countless hours are spent by these scouts out on those back roads watching baseball games at Ballparks across the country trying to find players for their organization to draft.

In recent years teams have focused on international players with baseball academies in the Dominican Republic and other nations but the fact remains the bulk of Major League Baseball players are still from America and someone needs to discover them.

Of course with the addition of the internet and other factors the need for scouts to physically travel the back roads has diminished in some way over the last couple of decades as You Tube and other sources provide a way to track players nearly from the first time that they pick up a ball or a bat. Several teams have even made drastic cuts in the size of their scouting departments while ramping up efforts on the analytical side of the game.

Personally I prefer to think of baseball with the scouts as part of the game and not some area to be replaced by computers and spreadsheets.

A few years back I attended a Baltimore Orioles Spring Training game at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota and was seated in the “scout section.” Throughout the entire game I was entertained by stories from these rough around the edges baseball lifers and was given a firsthand look into a piece of the life of a scout.

Many of the stories were not politically correct but they showed insight into a brotherhood where there was a kinship among the nomadic brothers in arms despite the competitive nature that goes along with the job.

For those without access to scouts of their own, Talent for the Game and Trouble with the Curve transport the viewer into a scout’s life as they balance their love for the game with the elements of time that are encroaching to make their fate seem like that of the dinosaurs.

Edward James Olmos and Clint Eastwood each give strong performances as the scouts. Both movies also feature strong supporting casts and story lines that have one pulling for the scouts to defeat the odds and find a way to continue doing what they are doing.

Next year I plan to once again find a Spring Training seat with the scouts to hear more tales of a nomadic live on the road. Until then, Talent for the Game and Trouble with the Curve will be my guide to the life of a baseball scout in search of the next big thing.

Copyright 2014 R. Anderson

Totally Subjective Top 10 List of Baseball Movies: Number 6

Editor’s Note: In the spirit of counting down to the start of the Major League Baseball season over the next two weeks we here at Triple B will present our completely subjective ranking of the Top 10 Baseball Movies. Today we look at number 6 on the list.

Last time we looked at Moneyball which showed the future of the game of baseball. Today it is only natural to balance things out a little bit by looking at the past.

Roy Hobbs and his “Wonderboy” come in at number 6 on the Triple B Top 10 Baseball Movies list with The Natural which is a tale of making the most of second chances and knocking out a few stadium lights with a handmade bat in the process.

The movie came out in 1984 and is an adaptation of Bernard Malamud’s 1952 baseball novel of the same name.

The number 6 movie on the Triple B totally subjective top 10 countdown of baseball movies is The Natural starring Robert Redford. Photo R. Anderson
The number 6 movie on the Triple B totally subjective top 10 countdown of baseball movies is The Natural starring Robert Redford.
Photo R. Anderson

Starring Robert Redford, Glenn Close, Wilfred Brimley, Kim Bassinger and Robert Duvall the movie recounts the experiences of Roy Hobbs, a player in the 1930’s with great “natural” talent, and questionable decision making when it comes to members of the opposite sex.

After being shot when he was 19 by a crazed female fan, Hobbs makes a comeback attempt in his mid thirties with the New York Knights managed by Pop Fisher (played by Brimley).

There are of course many baseball clichés included in the movie from the grizzled “seen it all manager” to the “intrepid baseball reporter” looking for a scoop, but all in all the clichés do not distract from the overall tone of the story.

And the movie’s climax is certainly one for the ages with the cascade of sparks falling down from the busted stadium lights after Hobbs hits the home run as the iconic music plays in the background.

It is an iconic scene in and iconic film and certainly one to remember.

The music from that scene can be heard at Ranger Ballpark in Arlington whenever a member of the home team sends one out of the park. I am sure there are other teams that do the same thing but the only one I have seen do it in person is the Rangers.

Admittedly I am sure many of us have hummed along to that song after achieving some feat of skill or other accomplishment while picturing a shower of sparks falling around us.

Some days just getting out of bed can be cause for humming the theme to The Natural as we make our way around the base path of life.

In addition to creating lasting memories of home runs that knock out the stadium lights the film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actress (Glenn Close), and nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress (Kim Basinger).

So with all of that in its corner it would be only natural for The Natural to make the countdown.

Copyright 2014 R. Anderson

Totally Subjective Top 10 List of Baseball Movies: Number 7

Editor’s Note: In the spirit of counting down to the start of the Major League Baseball season over the next two weeks we here at Triple B will present our completely subjective ranking of the Top 10 Baseball Movies. Today we look at number 7 on the list.

Few people can argue that the game of baseball was forever changed when the sabermetrics element of the game was moved from the back rooms to the general manager’s office.

Like it or not the advanced analytics are here to stay and coming in at number 7 on the Triple B Top 10 Baseball Movies list is Moneyball which is the true story of how the Oakland Athletics front office used charts and graphs to build a team in a way that changed the game of baseball.

The number 7 movie on the Triple B totally subjective top 10 countdown of baseball movies is Moneyball starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. Photo R. Anderson
The number 7 movie on the Triple B totally subjective top 10 countdown of baseball movies is Moneyball starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.
Photo R. Anderson

In the movie starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill (who received an Oscar nomination for the role), viewers are transported into the mind of the Oakland Athletics front office as they took a different approach to finding players for their roster.

While a new concept when it was introduced by the Athletics in the 1980’s, almost every team today using sabermetrics in one degree or another to build their rosters each year.

Whether sabermetrics is good for baseball in the long run is still up for debate but it has certainly allowed many smaller market teams the ability to be competitive and stand toe to toe with the big spenders in baseball for the past few decades.

While the past few decades have certainly proven that sabermetrics is certainly not going away any time soon, for those wanting to see how it all began Moneyball is the way to go.

Copyright 2014 R. Anderson

Totally Subjective Top 10 List of Baseball Movies: Number 8

Editor’s Note: In the spirit of counting down to the start of the Major League Baseball season over the next two weeks we here at Triple B will present our completely subjective ranking of the Top 10 Baseball Movies. Today we look at number 8 on the list.

Kevin Costner has made three baseball movies in his career. By the time the third leg of the Costner baseball triangle rolled around though it was clear that he did not have much left in the tank.

Still, it is hard to not count the complete Costner trilogy in a listing of baseball movies so coming in at number 8 on the Triple B Top 10 Baseball Movies list is For Love of the Game which allows Costner to move from behind the plate to the mound as a nearing the end of his career pitcher.

The number 8 movie on the Triple B totally subjective top 10 countdown of baseball movies is For Love of the Game starring Kevin Costner. Photo R. Anderson
The number 8 movie on the Triple B totally subjective top 10 countdown of baseball movies is For Love of the Game starring Kevin Costner.
Photo R. Anderson

The movie focuses on Costner as a 40 year-old pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. Throughout the course of pitching what could be the final game of his career Costner flashes back to various points of his career both on and off the field and thinks about the events that made him the person that he became.

The movie is helped by the presence of Vin Scully calling the on-field action as only Vin Scully can.

Like the number 9 movie on our countdown, Fever Pitch, this movie probably could also fall into the romantic category but as Fred Savage’s character in The Princess Bride comes to learn you likely won’t mind the “mushy stuff” as the movie draws to its conclusion.

The baseball action is strong for the most part and the flashbacks do not seem to water down the present day action.

Again, it is not Kevin Costner’s strongest baseball movie but it does deserve a place on the shelf next to the other two sides of the Costner baseball triangle. And of course like I said there is Vin Scully to listen to so one really can’t go wrong there.

Copyright 2014 R. Anderson